Dear Celibate: The Wrong Compliment

Dear Celibate,

I met a really attractive and intelligent woman at a party a few weeks ago.  It was a public event at an art gallery.  She was a high school teacher in her early thirties (I'm 27) and seemed very educated and sophisticated.  She had classic curves - large bust, narrow waist, shapely legs/hips, etc., but not what I would consider "overweight", and was wearing an outfit that really flattered her figure.  We had been talking for about a half hour and really seemed to develop a great rapport.  We had even made tentative plans to meet for coffee sometime.

Then, things suddenly went downhill. There was a pause in the conversation and I commented that she had a “really nice, hourglass figure”.  I thought she would take it as a compliment but instead she became deeply offended.  She said, "Excuse me?  Why are you talking about my figure?"  I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments but I think I only exacerbated things as she rolled her eyes and shook her head.  She told me I was being "inappropriate" and that she was "very disappointed" and started to walk away....then she came back and with a look of complete disgust, WHAP!, she slapped my face and departed.

As I stood there alone rubbing my cheek, I was trying to figure out why she was so upset.  It seemed like a harmless comment to me but maybe I don't understand women as well I should.  I do have her email address.  Do you think I should send her an apology note or should I interpret the slap in the face as a definitive way of saying she wants no further contact?


Dear Confused,

Wow, that's quite a story. I can't believe she slapped you. I'm wondering how the people who saw it reacted-- they were probably telling their friends the next day.

First of all, she is kind of a freak. At the least, she is probably from a very conservative and religious background. I polled some of my girlfriends to see how they would have reacted. None of them would have been so offended, but they all said it would have turned them off. It sends the wrong signal and you could look like a creep. It would definitely make most women uncomfortable and destroy whatever you had going for you.

Why? Complimenting a woman's body in your first conversation crosses a line of civility. The expectation is that you are having a conversation because you want to talk to her. You are not there to ogle her. By suddenly pointing out a woman's body, for whatever reason, you are alerting her to the fact that you are inspecting her body. Which says you have sexual intentions. When she thought you were interested in talking to her. So, either she bored you with her conversation, or you are a creep. That's why the woman walked away the first time.

She came back to slap you because she later processed your compliments as a sexual proposition. That offended her because it meant you thought she might accept. Because you thought she was that kind of girl. In her mind, you basically called her a whore.  Most woman know better than to read things that way.

Still, in the future, do not compliment a woman's body or any of her body parts when you have just met. Not unless you are prepared to back it up with a sexual proposition which you expect to be accepted.  Only after having VERY VERY strong social cues to that effect. (this is the wrong blog to discuss those cues.)  Even then, you're in high danger of offending a woman. Again, because it implies you thought she might accept and you don't know the woman well enough to know how she'll take that implication.

How should you compliment a woman in your first conversation? Here's a list of acceptable things to compliment:
  • Her dress (what you say when you like how her body looks) -- Don't compliment her shirt or sweater, she knows that you're really talking about her rack.
  • Shoes. (Don't gush if you want to present yourself as a heterosexual) 
  • Smile
  • Eyes
  • Hair
  • Glasses (I used to get a lot of those until I got my new glasses :(
  • Her Intellect, knowledge or wit (will win you super brownie points)
  • Say she is cute, attractive, stunning, if you have the stones for it.
  • Call her "Fascinating" and watch how far it gets you.
Don't use more than one compliment per conversation. That makes you sound desperate and cheesy.

SECONDLY, you asked if you should contact her. I would have said not to. But, in our email correspondence Confused told me he had emailed an apology. She replied graciously, but has no interest in further contact. Although, I think the fact she replied means she doesn't completely hate you. Keep your eyes on her. (NOT THAT WAY!) If you get another chance to talk and she makes steady eye contact or gives you a smile, go in for another conversation.

Love, JL


It's Not You, It's Me . . . No. Maybe it was Really You

In response to my 'Someone please explain' sob story post, I got two insightful emails. I didn't want to be greedy and keep the wisdom all to myself. Both emailers gave me permission to post their thoughts. So I have included them here.  This is somewhat of a mish-mashed guest post. (With some edits to their words, I hope they don't mind.)

I.  A long-time reader and blog friend, Ethesis (Stephen Marsh) has since posted this on his own blog.   He discusses reasons why someone can be over the age 30 or even 40, single, and not necessarily a hopeless human being.

Bottom line: It is very, very possible for someone to never find a match without it being their fault and without anything being wrong with them.

Finding a match.

I knew a guy, I’ll call him Jammin (Jam for short). He was strong and tall, but not quick (so he could not play basketball or football – not quick enough, trouble with powerlifting, too tall). He wasn’t as good looking as he thought, and not as smart as he needed to be. He had a thing about really pretty girls. Of course the only really pretty girls that would date him were ones with problems that off-set their being pretty. He couldn’t figure out why he was always dating girls with serious problems, how come he always ran into the ones that turned out to be scary.

It was simple. He wasn’t good looking enough to be a good match or fit for that group and did not have off-setting qualities (dating sites show that you can exchange money, education and other things for good looks if you are a guy).

I knew another guy, I’ll call him Loser (Lou for short). Lou liked really pretty girls. He liked pretty girls who could think. He invariably picked them up on the rebound after a bad break-up, he wasn’t pushy. They would drift away as they recovered. Mostly they remained friends, and interestingly enough, formed a group of ex-girlfriends of Lou’s that enjoyed each other, just not him. Lou couldn’t understand why he couldn’t hold on to the kind of girls he was dating. Now he is old enough that he is kind of skeevy vis a vis the girls he would like to date and has burned some bridges as well.

His problem is pretty simple. He has little to offer (less now that he is older) other than a non-threatening supportive ear and friend-style dating. But no one in their right emotional mind sees him as dating material for romantic dates.

Both of these guys were not matching what they were to what they were chasing. Both of them had long histories of failed relationships. Jam succeeded by breaking free of his blinders. Lou is, well, there is a reason I called him Loser.

We probably all know a Lou and a Jam.  This is kind of a harsh introduction. I knew a guy who told the same story, more or less, except it was about a girl who chased football players and another who chased drummers.

Too many people think that the moral of the stories is that you have to “settle” for less than you “deserve” or “want.” That’s wrong. What you have to do is find who you match.

Some things make it easier. If you are a guy, go to New York City. There is a surplus of single women in New York City. If you are a woman, go places where there is a surplus of men.

Next, go places where people are looking for people like you. I had a friend, Martha Muriel who was gorgeous and a dancer. She went to a ward full of short professional men and tall models. The men all wanted a short model (which, of course, wasn’t going to happen, there is a minimum height for models after all). The women were all looking for tall professionals (which group, it turns out, is mostly already married). None of them were looking for Hispanics, more their loss. Martha left after a couple visits, she was much too smart to waste more time there.

There are things that look like problems, but that are not. They are matters of fit. 

It is similar for both men and women. In some areas there are too many men, in others there are too many women. This is true of physical locations as it is of areas of interest (you trying to become a doctor’s spouse or snag an unmarried professional athlete? There are a lot of people in those areas). Some areas have huge pools (so the chance of someone in your sub-pool goes up) some have very tiny pools (if there are only three guys and three women in an area, the chance of a close match has probably gone way down).

Finally, what do you use as a filter? What things do you use to exclude? Every “hard” barrier will limit you. For example, my wife is taller than I am. If I had insisted on someone shorter than I was, I would not have married her (and vice versa – luckily we fell in love before we realized the height issue).

All of these matters taken together means that it is very, very possible for someone to never find a match without it being their fault and without anything being wrong with them.

Possible issues:

1. Geography. Sometimes it is just bad luck where you live or where your education goals take you.

2. Relationships. Not all relationships succeed. However, each time you invest time and effort in a relationship it puts you a few more years down the road.

3. Looking for the wrong solutions in seeking a match. Mostly that is idiot guys looking for physical attractiveness in women, but there are other things that come up.

4. Filter issues – excluding on the wrong things. Which does not mean you should ever, ever give way when you are filtering for the right things.

5. Other gap creators (there are things that make a match more difficult. Age, personal interests, political tastes, etc.).

Note that the most common issues do not require anything to be wrong with someone. Being “squirrely beyond belief” and is not something that keeps people from being married (would that it were so – I know lots of people in that category, some who have been married multiple times).


First, know what real things you want and what the real deal killers are? Then, list why they are what you want and why they are deal killers. Then re-think a focus.

II.  Another reader and friend, Notes from the Glass Ceiling, wrote the following. He has the benefit of knowing more details of my specific situations.

I believe that we pretty much are who we are. We can improve on what we are, but we cannot be who we are not. In other words, whether you are intense or not really doesn't matter. If you are not intense, you probably will not be. If  you are now, you probably will be.

And as far as intense goes, it is no sin. Artists and writers often are. If you find your intensity is hard on yourself, then that is a sign that you can improve it for yourself.

More importantly, I believe that people grow into love based on their personality. I think that people who are basically simple-minded do really well marrying young, because there is a good chance that they will meet someone just like themselves. However, for people who are very smart, very observant, very witty...this is a whole different game.  For someone such as this, it is harder for them to find a good match when they are in their 20s. They need someone who matches their personality and intellect. That can take time and luck.  I believe that you will find someone before long, but he may be 5-7 years older than you are, (or he may be your age or younger, but he will be very emotionally mature.)

As far as the sex thing, I disagree with the other bloggers who said that it does not play a part. It absolutely plays a part! People want to test drive a relationship before they marry. Anyone who says different is clueless or lying. You need more men to date who will appreciate your standards,and you are living in a very bad part of the country to do that.

Time to stop guessing. Men are not that complicated. We are sexually and emotionally driven, and we get scared when our ego is challenged. Then we grow up. Maybe.

This is not the time for you to give up on love. But maybe it is time that you look at other types of men that you did in the past.

Thank you both for this. 


Procession of Ghouls at St. John the Divine Cathedral

Here's a video of the event. This was last year's. 

I love New York.


Halloween on 68th and Lex

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Especially in NYC, it's crazy fun. Last year's Halloween was epic. And, at an event on the 30th-- a showing of Nosferatu accompanied by the organ at St. John the Divine followed by a parade of ghouls-- I met my last ex-boyfriend. He happened to be a successful horror novelist, and the poetry of our meeting was not lost on either of us. After the event,  he went with me and two of my best friends to eat in the village. He asked me out at the end of the night, near 3 a.m.  The next night, the 31st, I went to the Halloween Parade with my two friends. We dressed up, looked fabulous and marched in the parade. We topped off the night with a midnight  meal of Thai food near Washington Square.  Our costumes were so good that a dozen or so people stopped us to take our picture. 

Back to this year. I needed to keep things low key because I haven't been feeling well. My friends came up from Philadelphia again on the 29th to attend the event at St. John's.  We had dinner at the 2nd Avenue Deli which is no longer on 2nd Avenue.  At the cathedral, they showed the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.  It's a  truly creepy and fun experience.  It was also good for me to get past the one year anniversary of meeting my ex-boyfriend.  There was the possibility of running into him, but it didn't happen.  It feels good to get past this milestone. 

Saturday, my friends went to DC for the John Stuart rally. I went to a costume party.  I had a fun.  Spent a lot of time flirting. Mostly with the guy dressed as a lesbian zombie Puerto Rican drag queen. I asked him for a lap dance and got one for free. An odd, but cute, geek boy followed me around most of the night. He dressed as the Cobra from G.I. Joe.  You gotta love horror movie fans.  The winners of the costume contest were the girl dressed as the Shark-topus, the drag queen, and a girl dressed as the heroine from Audition (a Japanese horror film). 

The real excitement came after the party. I wanted to leave about 1:30.  I walked outside and dug into my bag for my car keys.  They were not there.  I frantically dug and dug in the bottom of the bag. No keys. I must have locked them in my car! Crap!  This is not a rare thing for me. I keep an extra key in my purse for that reason. But I had switched purses for the party. And my AAA membership expired a month ago.  This left me with two options: Call a locksmith and pay about $100 that I didn't have. Or, go home on the bus, get my extra key at home and come back to the upper east side the next day to retrieve my car. I chose B.

I walked to my car, then realized that my apartment keys were also locked inside. This meant that if I went home, 'd be locked out of my building and my apartment. At this time of night,  I couldn't get the old lady landlord to let me in. option B was no good.  I stayed calm. I walked into a nearby parking garage and asked the attendant if he had a slimjim. Of course he said 'No', whether he had one or not. I saw a cop across the street and asked him if he had a slimjim. He was sympathetic and flirty.  That meant my zombie makeup wasn't as effective as I thought. He went to check his car.  He returned to say none of the police carried slimjims anymore.  He offered to let me use his phone.  But I didn't have anyone to call. 

At this point, I began to get upset and felt sorry for myself. I am 34 years old and still getting into stupid messes like this.  I was sick of it.  I should have had someone to call.  No roommates, no boyfriend, no family.  It was pathetic.  What kind of a life was  this?  I decided to walk back to the party.  I might as well wait there as wait inside the vestibule of my building.  And maybe someone would let me crash at their place. 

I returned to find 3 men at the doorway.  They cheered that I had come back. (aww). I told them what happened and they all went into action.  Inside they asked if anyone had a slimjim or could help me by breaking into my car.  Everyone was worried.  That's when I stopped feeling sorry for myself,  it was very touching.  I picked up a donut and sat at the bar as my rescuers worked the crowd.  A few minutes later, they told me the guy in the butcher costume had AAA and would let me use it.  YAY!!!  I called them and spent 45 minutes on hold, then they told me they'd send someone within an hour.  So I would had to wait by my car.

Off I went out into the cold again.  My car was parked on 68th and Lex.  There's the Hunter College subway station on that corner with a nice bench so I plopped myself down.  I spent most of that hour plotting my future.  I was not going to be alone like this anymore.  I was not going to keep getting into problems like this.  I was done being single and sorry.  From now on, I would have someone to call. 

The temperature was in the 50s and I had on a nightgown wrapped in a thin pashmina.  The night was clear and very crispy.  A lot of Halloween revelers passed by on their way in and out of the subway.  Mostly couples, of course. Most of the women were in slutty costumes with very high heels and very short skirts.  At about 10 minutes to 4,  two guys walked up the street. They gave each other a hug and said goodbye with some jeering.  One came ambling over to the station stairs but he stopped.  He turned to the bench and sat down on the other end from me.   I was on the phone to AAA asking why they hadn't come yet since it had been an hour.  The truck was on it's way.  The guy played with his iphone.

When I hung up, he said my shawl looked cozy.  I replied that it wasn't as warm as it looked. He continued to chat me up.  He was very charming.  We exchanged names.  He asked about my costume, and said it was poetic. (I was undead Ophelia post-drowning).  He asked why I was sitting there.  He said he was  contemplating his ride back to Brooklyn and enjoying the night air.  Then he said I had a very nice smile, it was so warm. He beamed at me. "You know, if we had known each other for a week already, and were sitting on this bench like this, I would kiss you.  This would be my moment, here, on this night."  I was surprised. Then he said, "But, we don't know each other, so it would be weird."  I said, "Yes, it would be weird.  But romantic."  he agreed.  "Very romantic."  

He was encouraged. I looked at him.  He was good-looking, light brown hair, blue eyes and a beautiful smile with good teeth.  He said, "Maybe some day we'll be able to kiss."  I smiled, realizing that  I might actually get a date out of this conversation.  Hussy that I am,  I encouraged him some more. "That would be nice."   We smiled at each other for a minute.  He slid over to me, closed his eyes and puckered up an inch from my mouth.  Why not?  I puckered up and leaned into him.  He had big, soft lips.  It was a sweet kiss  Then he slid away again.  I asked him if he wanted my number. Yes. He slid back over and we kissed some more.  We cuddled up against the cold. When he picked me up and put me on his lap I told him that he owed me dinner.  He said he'd cook for me. 

Then he asked if I really wanted to see him again. I said yes, we'd have dinner if he called me.  "If, if?  What, you don't trust me? "  "No, I don't know you." "You're right."  Then we kissed until the Tow truck came.  He held my hand.  I didn't let things get too crazy because I didn't know him and I had to keep an eye out for the truck. When it came, he didn't want me to leave.  But it was after 4 and I had waited for 2 hours.  He said he felt used.  I told him he'd get over it and he should call me.  We had a nice goodbye hug.  I went home elated.  It was a lovely end to a dramatic evening.  

The parallel with last year is odd, that I met a man at the same date and time as I did last year.  

Only in New York City would something like this happen.  Making out with a hot stranger on the street corner at 4 a.m.  It was exactly what I  needed.  I don't know if he'll call me, probably not.  Which is fine.  But it'd be nice if he did. Not an epic Halloween, I let my friends go to the parade without me on Sunday.  Most definitely a very nice and very New York Halloween.


Double Standard 2: Guest Post

 John Silva of Single Mormon Male blog left this comment to The Double Standard post.  I invited him to submit a guest post and he has. I appreciate having a young man's perspective.

JL asked:

"What I wonder, is if single LDS men have a reversed double standard? Are they more selective with mo'women than they are with non-LDS women? They're probably less likely to date outside the church. And they're in a different league out in the real world. Just curious, if anyone knows."

Me, being the curious beaver that I am, decided to write up on the subject.

I would like to relate my own experiences on the matter. This summer, at the Disney College Program (again, I know, but a lot went down there :P ) I went on a lot of dates with LDS women and non-member women as well.  The dates with every single one of them were fun! As I went out with these wonderful women, I realized . . . I had a different standard when it came to asking these women out. Although I could go way in to my standards for girls I want to actively date or those I just want to go on a date with, that will have to wait for another time. Let's just say that as a super dater, I will go out with pretty much anything that moves.

But even then, that was different in Florida. The LDS girls I asked out on dates were the cream of the crop of the options when it came to my interests in girls, even though there were few of them I really wanted to get exclusive with. When it came to the non-LDS women, I asked out girls that I had never taken out before. They had extremely different standards than I did, and they were on a lower standard field than the LDS girls I took out. . . . No, I did not take out any of the girls to make out with them or go crazy, I did it just because they were fun to flirt with and I wanted to add to my dating number.

I just remember how some of these non-LDS girls were... they were fun, super flirty, attractive, but at the same time, talked about subjects that I would quickly change, suggested I do things with me that I would never even consider, and they just did not have the same drive as LDS women do.

I have come to the conclusion that what I expect out of LDS women is much higher than non-member women. I tend to avoid the very bottom of the potential pool because those type of people do not interest me in the least . . . I must change something I said from earlier, I won't date anything that moves, I do date a lot, but I date those girls that tend to grab my interest, and that is higher for Mormon girls rather than non-member girls.  The LDS girls were always of a much higher caliber than the non-LDS girls and I have noticed that.  I have a double standard going on here!

Why is that? Why when I am not actively seeking a girlfriend, I still have this standard where I will ask out super great LDS girls while non-LDS girls, whom I will go out with, I will settle for less?  Is it because when I just want to have fun, I feel I am in a safe position to avoid anything serious with these girls?

It is really weird to me that those standards change so much between which group a girl belongs to.  It is also strange to me that my standards change so much between my fun dating life and my serious dating life.

This is going to call for a new range of analysis.

Conclusion: LDS men do have a double standard when it comes to dating outside the church. Although I only related my experiences, I have seen this with other LDS men too. We aim high in the church and if we even do date outside the church, we tend to date just for fun and are not looking for anything serious, and we lower our standards then just for the heck of it!

I'm really interested in this subject . . . I'll explore it more later. Maybe do some more dating just to figure it out too, that is going to have to wait 'til this summer though, considering 1) I am at BYU where there so few non-members it is ridiculous, and 2) right now I feel like I am in serious dating mode where I am seeking a potential girlfriend.  We'll figure this out ...

= John Silva

I have my own ideas as to why this is, but I want to hear everyone else's ideas. Comment below.


"Maybe in the Next World"

From Elder Boyd K. Packer's talk "Cleansing the Inner Vessel" at the Fall 2010 Conference: 

To be entrusted with the power to create life carries with it the greatest of joys and dangerous temptations. The gift of mortal life and the capacity to kindle other lives is a supernal blessing. Through the righteous exercise of this power, as in nothing else, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy. This power is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness. It is the key—the very key.
Whether we use this power as the eternal laws require or reject its divine purpose will forever determine what we will become. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
    .  .  .  .

When we obey, we can enjoy these powers in the covenant of marriage. From our fountains of life will spring our children, our family. Love between husband and wife can be constant and bring fulfillment and contentment all the days of our lives.
If one is denied these blessings in mortality, the promise is that they will be provided for in the world to come.

Ouch. Marriage and sex are THE KEY to human happiness. It brings us closer to God than anything else does. And some of us will be denied that. But, we will be provided for after we die. Even though we were created in order to feel joy, it's not going to happen for us until we are dead. Great.

I wish I found that comforting. But I do not. Do you know what it says to me? And probably to most singles -- Some of you won't experience real human happiness, or participate in the true purpose of human life or get that much closer to God.  We know that you are sacrificing your mortal happiness. But, don't feel bad because some day in the future, you will get your body back and will get to experience these things.

According to church doctrine that will be after the end of days and the second coming and the resurrections. Then, after all of that, I will get assigned to some man to be his 50th wife.  Pardon me for not being overjoyed.  First of all, it could take thousands of years!  And I can only imagine how much worse that sounds to homosexuals in the church.  Waiting thousands of years for love is not appealing.  That alone kind of makes me want to quit and look for love elsewhere.

It seems that what we always suspected is now confirmed true. No matter how hard they try, the singles won't obtain the same level of happiness. And yet, when you look around you can see the happy people outside the church. Many of them do just fine. Many of them live better lives than we do. They get married and have families and have happy productive lives. While there are plenty of unhappy married people at church. None of us is guaranteed a happy life. That's fair enough. But being single feels like we don't even get the chance for that kind of happiness. We never entered the race, winning was never a possibility. So a lot of us, at least 90%, decide to chase a happy life outside the church, giving up their eternal reward to do it. (I'm not referring to interfaith marriage, but apostatizing for the sake of a relationship.)

While the years tick by, that promise of a future happiness becomes more meaningless to me. Maybe that's a sign of my own weakness. The wavering of my faith. I think this happens to all the many, many singles who leave the church. They spend years watching their lives slip away. They obey, but time keeps passing joylessly. Happiness seems to get further beyond their reach. The temptation to find happiness NOW grows ever stronger with each year.  It chips away at our faith and our testimonies. 

"He who loses his life for my sake shall take it up again."  I know the scripture.  But, it's not like I'm one of the 12 disciples giving up my life to spread Christianity.  For what cause am I doing this? For exaltation? That doesn't matter to me.  Whatever I get in the end will be fine.  I obey because I promised to.  I obey because I love my God and I owe Him.  If my motivation were for a reward, then my obedience would be self-serving and of little worth. 

I'm trying to figure out how I feel.  I'm trying to clarify my own confused thoughts.  I am struggling with my faith.  I know I can't be the only one.  The other singles have spoken with their feet as they walked out the door.  The dilemma: Live for now, or live for later.  We can't have it both ways.    

What's my conclusion? Let's be honest.  Promises for the afterlife are cold comfort and a difficult motivator. I wish the GAs and bishops and everyone else would stop flinging that promise around as if it were a panacea.  Like that's all we need to make it through this life alone.  I don't think it helps. It doesn't help me feel better. And I think it is used as an excuse. They don't have to do anything about the singles because God will provide, eventually. Maybe in the next world?

It all comes down to faith. It always does. Give your life to the Lord, and trust Him.  Worry not about your future.  Obey, because He said so.  Know that He is a just god and be still. It's a hard road. It can be a lot to ask.  Some of us are asked to sacrifice our happiness here and now.  Look at poor Joseph Smith, what a miserable life he had!  He did what was asked anyway.  Like all the other prophets who suffered miserably.  Although their suffering served a purpose.  Maybe ours does too?  Does that help any? It would help me, I think.  Be still. Be still.

We may not have a fullness of joy, but it won't be a bad life. We will do good things in our obedience. We will grow and become better. We will have true friends and know love because of our charity. We can accomplish much. We can do more good works because we aren't tied to a family. We contribute to other people's lives and lift their burdens.  Maybe this is the purpose of our solitude?  Maybe our burden is to make other people happier.  In that, we can find contentment.  That may be enough for a good life, here and now.  I hope so. I don't know how much longer I can hold my breath for the next world.


The Double Standard

Until very recently I practiced a gross double standard when it came to men. I'm not talking about the difference between Jimmy Choo shoes and a pair of Kenneth Coles, more like Jimmy Choo to Payless Shoes. Regular men needed to be of Jimmy Choo quality while Mormon men only needed to be shoes.

For regular men, here is what I wanted: Educated, attractive, fun, intelligent, good taste, sane, and politically liberal.

For Mormon men (more affectionately called mo'men), my standards were: Aged between 25-45, breathing, and heterosexual. Seriously. Those were my only deal breakers, no gay men or the inappropriately aged. So, all you insecure single Mormon men, get over yourselves. Women over 30 don't care what's wrong with you. I doubt that I am the only LDS woman with this kind of double standard.

Here's a list of unappealing traits belonging to various Mo'men that I dated (in no particular order): unemployed, no college education, high school drop out, balding, ugly, sober drug addict, dim-witted, Frat boy, gun collector, fat, living with his mother, redneck, sleazy, slutty, Republican, miniature (weighed like 115), short, deadbeat dad, closeted homosexual, horrible taste in music, schizophrenic, bad kissers, and.... that's all I can remember for now. 

Anyone still wonder why I'm single? 

The funny thing is that most of them dumped me. The ones that dumped me were: the sleaze (went back to his brazilian ex-girlfriend who put out), the Republican (there were more than one), the homosexual (I didn't exercise enough so my body was too soft), the dimwit (went back to his airhead ex-girlfriend), the drug addict/dead-beat dad (It was too hard), the redneck (Said I wouldn't make a good wife or mother), and the frat boy (who knows or cares? not me.) Among these, the drug addict was the only one I was in love with. I cared for the redneck because he was good to me, and I had some infatuations with some of the others. Looking back now, I'm grateful that this band of merry losers tossed me aside. In the end they were right that we didn't belong together, though the rejection hurt like a mother at the time.

Why did I do this to myself? There were several reasons. Because I said 'yes' to every man who asked me out. Because I didn't think I should discriminate, every man deserved a chance. And because there was no one else asking me out. While I am smart, educated, funny, and above-average attractive, I feel comfortable calling myself a Kenneth Cole. So, in what universe is this okay? --oh, that's right, in Mormon-land. 

Those days are over for me. I'm not wasting my time on losers anymore, no matter what their religious affiliation. It's liberating. And, it's too bad for the timid insecure Mo'men whom I would have gone out with IF they had asked me.  Now, it's too late for them.  My new Mo'men dealbreakers are (in addition to those above): Republican, uneducated, unsuccessful, mentally ill, addicts, homosexuals, unattractive, unintelligent, and bland with bad taste.  Look around at the single men in your ward and see how many would make the cut.

This is why I'm 95% certain I will never end up with a Mo'man. (The Republican thing alone disqualifies 98% of the Mo'men anyway.) Which is fine with me. I'm completely at peace with the idea of a mixed-religion marriage or a content singlehood. Because, now that I'm grown up, I have standards. Mo'men of the world have used up their no-dealbreakers privileges. I'm upgrading my lower bar from Payless to Kenneth Cole --or, that might be too high, I might have to make it Steve Madden, either way. Sorry, guys. If the shoe doesn't fit, I'm not going to wear it anymore.

What I wonder, is if single LDS men have a reversed double standard? Are they more selective with mo'women than they are with non-LDS women? They're probably less likely to date outside the church. And they're in a different league out in the real world. Just curious, if anyone knows.



Has anyone else read The Castle by Kafka? It was an unfinished novel, which, if you've read it,  you know how ironic and true the incompleteness is in itself.  There was no way to end that book.  That was the whole point, the endless frustration of modern life and bureaucracy, the meaninglessness of ambition which will never be fulfilled. . . how the pointless striving can steal the life that you already have.  Because, if all you care about is your frustrated and ultimately meaningless goal, wanting what you don't have, then you lose the joy you could have today with the gifts you do have.  Existentialism in it's naked brutality.  And truth. 

I am very frustrated today with the maze of complications in life. I'm having problems with HR at my new college, so, I have not been paid and will not get paid for some time. It's a comedy of errors. I told my department chair what was happening and he said it was Kafka-esque. I agree.

HR needs proof of my degree to officially hire me. I never got my Masters diploma because they mailed it to the wrong address. I have tried several times over the years to get my diploma, but they insist I pay for it because it's a duplicate. Out of principle and poverty I refuse to pay for a piece of paper I already paid for with thousands of dollars of tuition. I tried again to get a copy, but they will not send it unless I pay them.

Alternatively, I can show my transcripts to HR, but they must be original. I had an original sitting on my desk for 7 months.  Some time this summer I put it away.  Which means, it is gone forever.  I looked in every place it should be and it's not there.  Now I have to pay for another original.  Again, because of  poverty and the fact that I should already have a copy in my possession, I refused to pay for it. Instead, I would keep looking for the one that should be here. Meanwhile, 2 weeks later, I am not getting paid.

Realizing I can not pay my rent on time again this month, I gave in. I made several phone calls and finally talked someone into sending me a transcript for free. I told him I wasn't getting paid until I got my transcripts and I couldn't pay for my transcripts because I wasn't getting paid and he said he'd send me a free one. It arrived today. Sigh, that's one hurdle.

I called my department to see if they got my timesheets because they are due on Mondays. Turns out, I filled them out incorrectly and need to go to the office to do them again. Since I also have to take HR my transcripts, I called them to make sure they'd be there too. (They don't do paperwork on Fridays, which I found out the hard way.) Until I take care of HR, I won't get paid anyway. The commute costs $10 so I don't want to make 2 trips, it can also take an hour each way.  Good thing I called, the paperwork lady wasn't there today. So there was no point in going in today. Sigh.

I am extremely grateful to have my job. I don't mind the change in status. But the fact is, I don't even have shared office space or a key to the department office or a mailbox. I am on the bottom of the seniority pile when I used to be on the top.  And, as of yet, I don't have an email account and can't log in to the computer equipment.

So a student complained to the chair that he couldn't get in touch with me. Because I don't have a school email account and have not been able to get into the Blackboard website, because of my HR problems. I explained myself, but I'm already starting off badly.  I swore I wouldn't do that this time.

I am frustrated.

It is a maze of corridors and offices and paperwork similar to Kafka's luckless hero as he suffered to get into the castle. I am impressed by the stupidity of it all. I am impressed with my incapacity to adapt myself to the stupidity. I am trying to detach myself so I don't go into a screaming fit and pound my head against the wall.  Because none of this really matters.  Until it does.  Like, if I got evicted for paying my rent late again, or when I got fired for turning in my grades late, etc.

I walk in this maze. Amazed.

Maybe I should take up drinking. As long as you didn't get drunk, you could continue walking in the maze regardless of the the frustrations and maybe get somewhere. Or maybe not. There really isn't a 'somewhere' to get to, is there? Because there is always another hallway. And the Word of Wisdom.5

That was Kafka's --and the existentialists'--conclusion, if you could get them to admit there is a conclusion. Life is the maze. There is no arrival. There is no end save death. None of this silliness matters. The trick is to embrace the maze without giving up on your life. Enjoy the struggle but don't take it too seriously. 

Or, you can turn to drink or religion.

. . . to be continued


sand & sea

About a month ago, during a massive mood swing up out of my June-July depression, I decided I should get out of my head.  First, I probably should get out of my house. Why?  Because. 

Today, I had an interview for one  of the volunteer jobs I wanted.  I applied in August with resume, references, and a cover letter.  (This is NYC, nothing is easy.)  It's near the ocean, working with animals. The animals were awesome to behold. The job, not so much. It's mostly preparing food and cleaning up, in 8 hour shifts. It also requires self-purchased equipment. (I'm probably going to volunteer at my second choice elsewhere.) Still, watching the animals play, smelling the organic ocean stink (that I like), feeling the blazing sun on my skin, the breeze tickling the fine hairs on my limbs-- feeling alive-- were good things. I'm glad I went. I almost canceled because it was such a trek.

Afterward, I went to the beach. I was ready, my bathing suit on under my clothes, towel and sunscreen in tow.  I only stayed an hour because I only had so many quarters.  The weather was perfect today, mid 70s and sunny.  I walked barefoot on the dirty sand, taking care to avoid the broken glass. . .  I waded in the cool water, waves lapping my calves, toes sinking into the wet mucky sand, watched the barnacles open and close with the tide.  Then stretched out on a towel in the sunlight. . .  AND, drum roll..... I actually read texts for my graduate work!  

It's the perfect setting for dull reading. The smell of salt air, the lumpy waves of sand, the sound of crashing waves. . . it was lovely. (A strong antidote for panic attacks that tend to attend my research.)  I'm thinking of making the beach research-reading a weekly routine.

The drives there and back, though long, --and not without my lost detours that I can not avoid-- were glorious.  Bridges and rivers and ocean.  The tolls cost $27 because I took the most direct routes.  (You read $27 correctly, this is NYC.)   I drove down Manhattan along the Hudson, Jersey palisades on my right, the groovy grime and architecture of the city on my left.  I watched river traffic with barges and sailboats and a helicopter--it was lunchtime traffic, stop and go.  I went through Staten Island with views of the narrows (where ocean meets river),.  Drove along parkways following the Atlantic shoreline.  Seabirds, the small rock islands in the Port of NY, moving reflecting waters, boat horns lowing.  Breathtaking at times.  Windows down, smoggy salt air blowing through the car, listening to Bloc Party, tanning through car windows. --Does life get any better than this?

I need to remember.  This is living.  This is why.

Remember the joy of physicality.  The sensory pleasures making us alive.  

But we forget.  I forget.
We make ourselves sick with our tucked away comfortable places, separate from the world, separate from each other.  So much so we can separate from our own bodies, in a bad way.  Those  with solitary celibate lives are at even greater risk of losing touch with our flesh.  Sometimes we force separation to deal with the celibacy.  It's not good.  Spirituality is important, but physicality is also important, essential.  One without the other is sickness.  We are equal parts body and soul.

Sex is clearly an important part of that equation.  So those who live without, need to be especially careful not to get lost inside.  We have to work harder to feel the joy of our bodies.  To remember we are flesh and blood and revel in it, to celebrate our sensuality.  It's not easy.  I'm lost in my head 98% of the time, and  I'm sick with it.

Nothing in my life has really changed since I wrote the last post --other than being $27 poorer.  But what a difference!  I will try to hold on to this for as long as I can.  The curative powers of sand and sea, flesh and body.  Remember.



Sunday, I was too sad to go to church. The very thought of going made me cry. But, my friend needed me to watch her infant while she worked in the nursery. So I went. The sacrament hymn was something dour and awful about the angels weeping for the savior's pain. I started crying and couldn't stop. I made it through sacrament and the first short talk by keeping my head down and sucking on tissue.  I can't hide the crying because my face gets so blotchy.  I went home after 30 minutes, I knew it wouldn't stop.  I was ashamed for letting down my friend, but I couldn't stand to sit there.  At home,  I curled up on the couch with my snuggly cat, wrapped up in a blanket and watched TV.  I cried off and on for the rest of the day.

I'm tired.  I'm scared.

I did get a part-time job which was a gift from God.  Seriously, I had a blessing that Sunday, he said I'd find the positions I needed to provide for myself.  The department chair called me the day before class started and said they needed me. Good news.  That combined with my part-time unemployment should cover my expenses.

Except, as I now realize, because I am so many months behind on my bills, the new income will not be enough.  And the college won't pay me until I produce  proof of my degree.  Which I have to order from my university and pay for with money I do not have. Because I'm not getting paid . . . So there won't be enough for my rent next week.  I was in this exact position 8 years ago.  It seems like I haven't made any progress,  I'm only treading water. 

I can see the string of mistakes I've made throughout the last decade. At the time they seemed like the best choices.  I did my best. I never stopped trying. I have learned a lot emotionally in the struggles.  But, in terms of life skills I haven't grown at all.  Every time I turn around I make some stupid mistake that costs me money I don't have.  Like spilling water on my keyboard, breaking it for the second time in the last month, costing me $40 for 2 new keyboards.  Or putting my parking meter receipt face down and earning myself $160 in parking tickets in Queens. Or, buying the discounted 10 bus tickets, rather than the 2 tickets I needed.  Thereby overdrawing my account by $20 dollars, costing me $37 in fees, so that it not only canceled out the discount, but cost me an extra 32 bucks . . And last month wasn't even a bad month for me.  EVERY month is like that with the stupid mistakes.

I feel on the edge of breaking. Stretched to my limit.

Every single day is a struggle-- financially, emotionally, spiritually.  Why? What is all of this for? If it is true that 'men are that they may have joy'. . .  then the waiting feels long.  I've made it this far solely because of my faith, but it's wearing thin.

It's too hard to believe in a pay-off anymore. It's hard to keep hoping for better.  So, why do we bother with all of this? Why do we keep going when the past tells us life doesn't get better and doesn't get easier? Other than, we don't have a choice?  Because when we stop fighting we may as well die?

--Yet, I know that in a few days I'll wake up feeling okay and hopeful again. And then a few days later, I won't be okay.  And again and again and again.  It's exhausting.


Sweet Single LIfe (Re-run)

I wanted to lighten things up around here. This is a re-run from 2005.  I'd like to see what readers enjoy about their single lives, so leave a comment and let us know. 

These are things that give marrieds reason to envy singles.  Here's a happy list of non-sucking things in my life that I may possibly miss if I ever get married: (In no particular order)
  1.  I answer to no one. I do whatever I want whenever I want.
  2. I stay up late without bothering anyone, I wake up late because no one wakes me up.
  3. Saturday mornings, (on the rare occasions I get up early enough) are for eating Lucky Charms or Count Chocula AND chocolate covered donuts while watching cartoons. My favorite is X-Men. Yu-Gi-Oh actually grew on me though I despised it at first. I've learned to appreciate it's wonderful badness.
  4. I can travel at a moment's notice without inconveniencing anyone.
  5. Body hair is my own private business and what I do or don't do with it is no one else's concern. [A man told me that women who are looking for boyfriends don't share my attitude. I scoffed at this person since he had just been kissing me.]
  6. No stress regarding other people. I only have my own problems to worry about.
  7. No contention in my home life. [Sometimes the cats need a scolding but they rarely shout back.]
  8. My poverty is my problem. There's no guilt for making other people live on stale bagels, eggs and beans.
  9. The remote control is ALL mine, pity the man who ever tries to take it from me.
  10. I don't have to listen to bad music in my own home.
  11. If I skip church, low guilt factor, I'm not preventing other souls the inspiration or enlightenment that church should provide.
  12. I spend my money at will.  If I need new shoes more than groceries or a metrocard, then I buy new shoes.
  13. Complete unpredictability of my life. Anything can happen at anytime. I can't even say where I'll be in 6 months. I love that.
  14. I have time to devote to my friends. If one is in crisis, I can drop everything to rush to their aid because I don't have other responsibilities in the way.
  15. When I feel lazy, I can have a can of pringles for dinner instead of bothering with real food and washing dishes.
  16. There's no one to disappoint other than myself.
  17. I can leave my clean clothes out for a week, putting away one class of item per day (Today it was underwear, tomorrow maybe socks or shirts.)
  18. Total professional freedom. If I got a job in London then I can go to London.
  19. There's no man saying  "Is it that time of the month?" because he doesn't like what I'm doing or saying.
  20. I don't have to do other people's laundry. (Although I will marry the man who will do mine.)
  21.  Food experiments in tupperware that got forgotten are allowed to blossom and grow of their own volition. --when I discover it, rather than cleaning the foul thing, I throw it out tupperware and all. (this is actually why I stopped buying tupperware.)
  22. My family is the only family I have to deal with, no in laws or other such scary things.
  23. No man pee on the bathroom floor or around the seat (except when some people have guests over but that's not often enough to be a problem.)  Really men, how hard is it to aim?
  24. I don't get big callings at church, I can disappear into the walls if I so choose.
  25. I can go to sleep with my music playing.
  26. No sharing of MY closet.
  27. Never worrying that maybe I could have done better, or maybe I made the worst mistake of my life, or this other person might betray me and destroy my life.
  28. Maybe I snore and maybe I don't. But no one else is snoring in my bed.
  29. I'm the only one losing my stuff. 
  30. If I hate my life I can change everything.
  31. No sacrifices to kids/babies/mortgages/someone else's career
  32. There's no end to the drama
  33. My problems only hurt me.
  34. I don't have to watch movies I don't like.  
  35. No one complains if I spend the entire weekend in my PJs eating pizza and watching TV or playing video games.
  36. I can sing badly as loudly as I want all day long.
  37. I can dance around the house as naked as I please whenever I please. (hopefully, in a good marriage that won't change).
(For the record, I wrote this in my 20s, so I have grown out of some of these-- especially the food. I might eat an apple pie from Yaffa's for breakfast-- BEST breakfast ever--but I try to lay off the lucky charms.)



Dear Celibate: Divorced part 2, Staying Positive

Dear Divorced in the North,

You had a 2 part question, so I've split these up.(see part 1 here or below)

How do you avoid being negative and bitter?  It plagues singles. The dark nights. Endless disappointment and broken hearts. Hopelessness. It's enough to make one very negative.  Bitter is a good word for it.

Forgive.  Forgive yourself.  Forgive the world, fate, the church, women, and your ex.  Bitterness develops from suppressed anger, anger projected outward to others.  Don't blame everything and everyone, or anyone, for your circumstances. Accept responsibility for your life.  YOU made your bed.  There were outside factors, but you could have chosen otherwise. Then forgive yourself.  Love yourself.

When you love yourself, you know you're lovable.  Which makes you lovable. And attractive.

Accepting responsibility for our lives is empowering.  Knowing you have control means you are not a victim of the world.  That means you have power over yourself and your life.  It feels bad at first to blame ourselves, that's when you need to self-forgive.  Then, you're able to take control of your destiny.  You know you can DO SOMETHING about it.  You can get on with changing things, fixing your life and getting rid of the garbage. Taking action creates hope, it breeds confidence.  So, do something for yourself already!

Once you take control without anger, you become a more positive and attractive person.  Good things will come to you.


Dear Celibate: Divorced in the North

Dear Celibate,

I am 31, divorced and with a child that I see every other weekend and on special occasions. I am very active in the Church, there wasn't any abuse or adultery or anything like that. Simply put we married way young and I never loved her and married due to the pressure of my various influences. Anyways friends were telling me to get out of it even before we got engaged. In fact I wrote a blog about it.

My friend who is a girl read it and said I come across as negative but how do I be positive about this situation enough to attract a girl is my question. I don't want to be what girls scrape the bottom of the barrel to get but sometimes that's my thoughts.  I'm what people would settle for. Any clues? Thanks!

--Divorced in the north

Dear Divorced,

Your problem is universal to all singles, 'How do we stay positive and attractive?'  First, you are NOT the bottom of the barrel!  You actually have some advantage over never-marrieds.

Here's what makes you a catch:
  • You've gone 'all the way': Committed to marriage. It says you are capable of real commitment. Maybe you're more scared because of the divorce, but you did it once. It implies you can do it again.
  •  Maturity: Having been married with a child means you are more mature than the others.  Women REALLY dig maturity.
  • Housebroken: Your ex-wife already trained you.  You've been broken from nasty bachelor habits. No more peeing in the shower, dripping pee on the toilet and floor, hairs in the sink, moldy dirty dishes, smelly apartment, greasy pizza box piles, dirty refrigerator, ugly decorating, old furniture from the curb, etc. She already did the work so the next one won't have to.
  • Experience: Let's tell the truth. You've had sex. You have skills that never-married temple-worthy men do not (virgins).  That means you won't have an awful fumbling wedding night, and the clumsy months after that.  Women do think about it.  It's a BIG plus in your favor.
  • Less suspicion (sometimes): Single men over 30 are wondered about. People wonder what's wrong with them. The assumption being that there must be something wrong with a single man in the church. Having been married, this suggests you may be more normal.  HOWEVER, you do have to deal with divorce stigma. As a single woman, I worry more about older never marrieds for the reasons above.  But, be prepared early on to explain your divorce.  I suggest you spend more time becoming friends with women before asking them out. Show them you're a nice guy. And, this could give you an opportunity to explain the divorce beforehand.

You should hold your head up high and carry yourself with confident swagger (btw--also sexy). You have a lot to bring to the table.  Divorce doesn't mean you're leftovers. Remember that.

(See Part 2)



Feed My Sheep: The Church Singles' Crisis II

You see us sometimes, on some Sundays. The days we actually go. The adult singles . You see one person sitting alone here or there among the pews. Mostly, they go unnoticed. They don’t have squirming, screaming babies to draw your attention. They didn’t have play group with you last week. They’re not in the bishopric. A single might teach your children in primary, or gave a particularly memorable talk once, so his or her name you might know.

A small number of brave and faithful singles (divorcees and widows included) fight the good fight in your congregation; they who try to immerse themselves in the ward. Who tried to fit in, to participate, be a good saint and make the Lord proud. And yet, she or he probably went home after church, had dinner for one, made a few phone calls, and fell asleep alone, again. Crying. In fervent prayer. Unnoticed.

Those brave souls try to ignore the patronizing comments, the looks, the judgment and exclusion they get every week at church. They try not to let it make them feel bad and hurt their self-confidence. They try not to dwell on the endless disappointment of dating and not dating. They try hard. Week, after bloody week. Year, after year. They pray, they read the scriptures, they are righteous and obedient. Most have only the Holy Ghost to comfort them. They can survive that way. But they will not thrive. Without love, support, and inclusion, they wither. A loving community(family) of others is essential for each human success.

That handful of valiant singles in your ward are the exception. (And most of them have likely been inactive at one time. Or, they have supportive families nearby.) The other 90% of our single adults (over age 30) could not keep up the fight by themselves. The world took them. They’ve left the church officially or they just slipped away. Recent converts are especially vulnerable. There are common reasons why single adults go inactive. Many of those reasons have to do with the institutions, the communities, and the lack of marriage prospects. The singles have no control over those things. We cannot continue to place all the blame for this latter day apostasy on them.

Over and over again, the singles are told that they have to be stronger, stalwart, unshakable, invulnerable. They are told it is not the job of the church to emotionally or socially support them. No? Then whose job is it?

We have not lost one sheep, dear saints, we have lost the whole flock. When the entire group goes missing, whose fault is it? Is it possible for the flock to be filled to 90% with weak, errant, rebellious, or less worthy sheep? No, of course not. When the whole flock is lost, the problem is not with them. The problem is with their shepherds and the ranch. When the whole flock is lost, it means there is something wrong with the system.

What kind of shepherd loses 90% of his flock then goes home grumbling about his crummy sheep? When the master asks him to account for his flock, can the shepherd stand proudly and say, ‘They left, Lord, because they were weak.’? What will his Master say in return? Won't it be akin to “No. They needed you. You didn’t feed them. You didn’t keep them safe. You gave them no reason to trust you and follow you home."

Christ commanded us to be good shepherds. But the wolves are now gorging on the feast of our singles. The ones we so complacently sent to pasture with an admonishment to be stronger and pray more.  They are standing in the enemy’s storm with no partner, no family, and little to no church support. They are lonely, rejected, and tired. That was not the Lord’s plan. Do you think you could withstand the storm of the world raging against you and your testimony if you were alone? Are you that strong?  Very few are. And the Master is weeping.

I hope someday our singles will find warm shelter among their loving brothers and sisters. Maybe someday we will seek them out and bring them home. I pray it won't take too long for us to be more diligent and keep the wolves at bay.


CITC Retro: Get Your Groove on! The Singles Dance

I'm totally cheating here, re-posting an old post. But this is 6 years old. I doubt anyone out there remembers it. The real reason I'm doing this is research. The original comments to this post got lost several template changes ago.

Please tell us your Best Worst singles dance experience! Or, if you have a GOOD dance experience, let's hear that as well. Use the comments. Thank you!

I just couldn't pass this up. Every Mormon living, single or formerly single, understands about the 'Singles Dance': an institution instituted to benefit the 'singles', to give us a romantic place to meet each other.  Bless them for trying, but a church gym with some balloons taped to the wall and a folding table of chips and punch does not make for romance.

Singles Dance traditions differ in each stake.  Back home, my stake hosted a dance the third Friday of each month.  The Region hosted a dance on the first Friday of each month.  I had to go to my stake's dance because I was my ward YSA (Young Single Adults) rep for forever. The five reps had to rotate dance chores, like cleaning up and DJ-responsibility. Ah, the singles dance DJ. Usually some brave LDS music-geek, or DJ wannabe who didn't mind doing it for free. Our stake was lucky because we had George who owned lots of cool equipment. The DJs at our dances got to use his laptop to program the songs, while he hovered menancingly.

I haven't been to a church dance in years. But I remember in our YSA stake meetings, the issue of song-lyric-cleanliness came up once in awhile. They tried to make us have all songs pre-approved before the dance. That didn't work. But, today as I was surfing the bloggernacle I came across a post from Number1Nun. [Sorry, that blog is long gone.] It's the one starting with, "HOLLA" dated 4/08/04. She writes about her bishop, not only asking for a preview list of songs for the next singles dance, but actually suggesting that the DJ play "I am a Child of God".

Yes.  You read that correctly.  Check her blog and see for yourselves.  Do they want us to stay single forever?? Isn't it bad enough that the People at a dance feel humiliated and nervous?That the music is terrible?  That some sweet white-haired grandma and grandpa missionaries are chaperoning?  That the lights are too bright? That you sometimes find yourself hiding from the creepy old dude or sweaty boy?  Or, the one interesting guy there is 19 and leaving for his 2 year mission next week?  That you sometimes get to watch ex's macking on other people?  That sometimes no one of the opposite sex wants to dance with you, or, they do want to dance with you but  you find them all repulsive?.....No! That's not enough.

Now, at Nun's dance they want her to play sweet, spiritual primary songs to get everyone in the mood. ? How do you dance to that? You couldn't even do the missionary shuffle [walk around in a circle slowly holding hands]. To what end does her bishop want this song played? Here are some of my guesses:

  • To remind everyone to leave some room for the holy ghost.
  • To remind them of their awkward childhood so they feel more confident and flirty.
  • It's a morale booster for those whose egos are getting abused, "It's ok no one wants to talk to you because you are a child of God."
  • So the couples making out in the parking lot will knock it off out of guilt.
  • To prevent the giggling girls from gossiping about each other, "Don't say that about her hair, she's a child of God too!"
  • To remind the RMs that it is their Godly duty to find a wife, so they better get to it.

What's your singles dance story? Enquiring minds want to know.
(This is for a very important project and really matters.)


How Not to Pick Up Women Online

Gentlemen, it's all about the profile picture. 

I've been online looking around at the dating sites and have noticed patterns that turn me off.  I think you all need a little help.

Consider this, people scan through a hundred or more profile pictures, each photo gets less than a second's consideration. The viewers eyes won't stop on a photo unless it grabs her attention.  Her attention can be grabbed in both good and bad ways. 
These are the bad ways:

  • SHIRTLESS. Really? It's tacky. If I wanted meaningless sex, then I'd want to see your bare chest.  Maybe that's the point.  That's the message you're sending. If you want a nice girl looking for a serious relationship, then put your shirt back on.  
  • PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOT:  Unless you are an actor, this screams desperate with a capital D.  This guy is so needy for a date, he went to the mall and paid someone to take his picture. Or, he's an actor. Either way, next.
  • BOY BAND POSE: You've seen these. A boy leaning against a door frame with his shirt just opened enough to tease.  Standing in the rain, looking off into the distance.  Again, this screams desperate and raises a flag that this man is overly-vain. 
  • BLACK & WHITE Photo: Pretentious. This guy is trying to stand out and look artistic. He's trying too hard. Yawn.
  • The CUT-OUT: The picture with his ex-girlfriend or wife cut out of it. You can still see her cheek against his, or her hair hanging down.  This is off-putting. Women think: This guy just got out of a relationship.  Baggage. He's probably hung up on her since he hasn't taken a new photo. And he's bitter enough to photoshop a woman he cared for out of a nice photo. I don't want him to do that to me. Moving on.
  • The PLAYA: He poses with his babes. Or maybe one babe. But there's a hot chick hanging around his neck. This is not good. First, a woman compares herself to the babe and may feel inferior. Then, she judges the man by the girl in the photo. Do you really want to be associated with the bleach blond bimbo? It also gives the impression that there's competition for this man and he's proud of it. No thank you. 
  • GOOFY HIPSTER: The guy with dirty hair and expensive old looking t-shirt in a silly pose, with a dumb hat, or wearing a costume or making a face.  It's cute if you're under 25. Over 25, and the man looks childish and immature. 
  • HUNTING SHOT: If you're looking for a Sarah Palen type, then by all means, post a picture with your rifle. Otherwise, you look like a psychopath.
  • DADDY: Risky, very risky. Men holding babies or playing with kids are sexy, but.... the first assumption is that those are YOUR kids. That's scary. If they're not your kids, don't put them in your profile shot. If they are your kids, then advertising that you're a father may seem like a good idea. However, you are losing a lot of clicks.  I suggest moving these to your 2nd photo so at least you get a profile viewing.  If she's interested enough, then she'll be okay with kids. 
  • SPORTS CAR: Or, SUV or truck. This guy thinks standing in front of his expensive car is going to make him attractive. That fact alone is a deal-breaker. 
The best kind of profile shot is simple, it should show most of your face. The action shots and traveling shots are okay.  But, those are better as 2nd and 3rd photos. We want to like your face before we take the time to click on your profile.



Ever since my plans fell through in the spring and things changed unexpectedly, I have been unable to envision my future. Before, I always hoped and planned.  Now I can't.  It feels like a blindness. I feel lost and directionless. I don't even know what to hope for anymore. One thing I do know is that the Lord needs me to learn something from this. Until I figure out what that is, I'm not getting out of this dark place. What that lesson is, I couldn't fathom.

But the Lord's hand is with me.  He didn't cause my problems or my failures, I did that all by myself.  However, He has stayed my rescue until. Something. He is withholding my vision. This, I have felt. 

Before July, I believed something good would come, some kind of wonderful change. I held onto that. But I ran out of strength last month. When my mood crashed, I gave up and decided I couldn't fight against myself anymore. With the darkness of my vision and the sorrows of my past, I couldn't see any reason to bother fighting.  I prayed for death.  

I know that''s an evil thing to do. But I woke up in the mornings horrified with myself and my life, choking on shame for my mistakes. Despising the air I breathed. I couldn't imagine or believe that anything could change.  Even if change was coming, I didn't feel like I could survive the wait. 

You may be holding your breath for the big reveal. Something must have changed to make me write in the past tense. There must be something wonderful. No. There is not. None of my problems are resolved. There is nothing new.

But the Lord has been merciful enough to remove my psychotic horror and misery for the time-being. (I am writing this to publicly thank him.) This has allowed my mind to open enough for room to listen.  I've spent this entire day in prayer and reading. I got something.

He wants me to learn trust. I have yet to master that skill. I've only trusted myself to do what I needed. I took care of myself.  Now, I've lost all my confidence and self-trust. Thus, utter hopelessness. 

I missed that trust lesson in my infancy because of the trauma in our home.  That was a long time ago.  But I think it's made me somewhat of a dysfunctional adult. 

Here's an example of how severe my trust issues have been (this was over 10 years ago so I hope I've gotten better.)  I was committed in a mental ward.  One day they took all the patients to an obstacle course.  There was a high platform from which they played the trust game.  People climbed up, and stood at the edge backwards with their eyes closed. Then they fell into the waiting arms below.  Everyone was caught, no one was hurt. But not only could I not take a fall, I had to stop catching people because my stomach churned every time someone fell.  Then I had to stop watching because it made me so sick with anxiety.  I had so little trust in these 12 people, whom I knew,  that I didn't believe they would catch someone else who was falling.

I suppose I don't even trust the Lord enough. Or else I wouldn't have lost my hope.  That's what I have to do now.  Trust God to see me through to a better place.  Relinquish the controls.  Hand over my cross to Him. 

I also need a lot of help from other people, I'm still barely functional.  I won't get out of this alone.  So I guess I'll have to learn to ask for help, believe in other people enough that I can make the words come out of my mouth. Being able to trust people is important, too. Unless I want to spend the second half of my life alone, I better step up.

  But, how?


a bipolar lament

I was able to get my internet turned back on for now. I've been too depressed to write. My medication doesn't work anymore and my mood cycles every few weeks. When compounded with real actual depressing life circumstances in addition to my messed up brain chemistry.... not a good thing. 

I'm sinking deeper and can't see my way out.  I can't even see a reason to fight it anymore. Nothing I try to do to fix my life works. Every time I start to make things better, I crash and ruin everything. I'm now at the point in my life where I don't think there is a way to make it better. I have no career, no job, no prospects. I can't pay my bills so I'm living in my own apartment on borrowed time. I'll be moving back in with my parents  before long. The ultimate humiliation and failure. I'm trying to put it off for as long as possible.

Where do you get the motivation to go on when, without fail, it ALWAYS goes wrong?  No matter how good things are, my mood crashes. Then I piss all over the good things and make them go away. A few years ago I had everything I wanted and I was on my way to do so much. But I went crazy and it all fell apart. There's nothing left now. I'm all out of ideas.

I have so much to give and to contribute to life. I want to give, I want to do.  But I'm stuck in my dark apartment waiting to die. I just want to go to sleep forever. 


Dating Advice for Mormon Men

Updated with a new #8! 

A frequent commenter on this blog recently suggested I write a book of dating advice for LDS singles.  I don't feel qualified to write that book for women, I feel like I haven't figured it out for myself yet.  But, I definitely know what the Mormon men out there are doing wrong.  This got me thinking. First, I'm not trying to beat up on Mormon men, they've got it hard enough. But there are patterns I've noticed that are hurting the men's chances with the ladies.

So I'd like to share some advice right now.  Below is a list of tips for avoiding the most obnoxious LDS male dating behavior that makes women like me run screaming back into non-LDS land. (This is not exclusive to Mormon men, but for some reason, the prevalence is much higher.)*

*All Mormon men do not need this advice, some of them are very good daters.

1. Women don't like cheap.  
I don't know what goes on in Utah, but in the rest of the world, frugality is NOT cool or impressive on a date. VERY unattractive.  Women are impressed by your financial power and success, this is an evolutionary fact. Nature has dictated that we be attracted by men who can take care of our physical needs.  As disgusting as that is, and it pains me to say it, but it is absolutely true. Before you men get judgmental about it, it's the equivalent to the way Nature made you attracted to beauty (or fertile women with good DNA).  Even if you're not financially successful, you should treat her as though you did have the cash. (Cut back on your video game habit if you have to.)  If you like the woman, take her to a nice restaurant and treat her like a queen. The sexiest line I've ever heard from a man was, "You don't ever have to worry about how much anything costs." All of my girlfriends swooned when I told them about it.

2.  Do not make a big show out of paying the check
Don't show off how much tip you are leaving (but don't be chintzy on the tip either, we notice), do not tell your date how much dinner cost or your tickets or whatever.  And for the love of all things holy, do not complain about how much it cost.  That says to us that you don't think our company is worth that amount of money.  She will never want to go out with you again. 

3. Dress up.  
My biggest pet peeve, and it's worse with LDS guys, is a man showing up for a first date, or any date in jeans, a t-shirt and tennis shoes.  (Unless it's appropriate to the event you are attending, but even then, you should try to dress up as much as possible.) Because the woman probably spent AT LEAST an hour getting dressed up for him and he shows up in clothes he'd wear to hang out with the guys. It pisses me off.  It is disrespectful.  It tells me that you do not like me enough to bother getting dressed.  It's a compliment for you to dress up for your date. And it scores you instant points right at the beginning.

4. Ask the woman out on a date and be a man about it.    
Ask her out to her face. Do not text, do not email, do not IM. The phone is acceptable, the other forms of media are weenie and make you look like a weenie. So if she does accept, you already have a strike against you. You should make all the plans for the first date.  Have everything taken care of ahead of time. Just make sure you talk to her first. You don't want to take a vegetarian to a steakhouse. 

5. Ask the woman on a real date and be a man about it.
This is not a typo, it bears repeating. Do not ask a woman on a stealth date. You all know you have done this. In order to avoid getting rejected, you ask the women to an ambiguous activity in an ambiguous way so that she could construe it as friendly instead of a date. It is annoying not to know if the man I'm about to go out with is interested in dating me or not. And it is annoying for me not to know whether I'm dressing up for a date or whether I can expect to pay for myself or not.  ANNOYING.  It makes you look like a weenie and gives you negative points.  Be direct. Let the woman know you are taking her out because you like her.  We like that.

6. Do not be coy, do not make us chase you.  
We don't want to chase you.  Because the man who tells us directly that he likes us and wants to date us and asks us out on real dates is right around the corner.  That man will get the girl, not you. We aren't programmed to be aggressive, and it hurts our self-esteem. Many of us have non-Mormon men assertively chasing us.  That makes the shy Mormon boys look bad, and again, weenie. So you're already losing before you even got to the plate. You're a grown man, get over it and grow a pair.   

7. Show some manners.  
Good manners go an awful long way with the ladies.  It tells us that you respect us and that you like us enough to treat us well. It's also a preview of how you might treat your wife.  Please and thank you, hold the door, show her consideration, offer your coat if she's cold, etc. Everything your mother taught you. For example, if you're meeting your date at the theater and she happened to have bought the last ticket unknowingly (though she shouldn't be buying it in the first place) DO NOT LEAVE HER AT THE THEATER by herself.  Buy 2 tickets to another movie, or sneak in with her anyway. Or, DO NOT PEE IN THE PARKING LOT IN FRONT OF HER. Especially after she asked you not to do it.

How could I forget this last one? It's the absolute WORST behavior!

8. Do not audition us for dates! Commit to one night with a woman already!!
Really.  If you find a woman intriguing or at all interesting, ask her on a date (see #4, #5).  That's what other men do.  It's one night of your life.   So, if it sucks, now you know and you can move on.  Think of all the time you just saved yourself.   You don't have to wonder about her anymore.  No more auditions or tests.  One date and it's "Next".   Not to mention that this makes women angry.   If a man can't commit to spending two hours with me, then he is an annoying weenie.

An example:  There are now 3 eligible men in my ward (which is unprecedented, we've had a 200% increase!).  One of them isn't interested in me.  One stares at me but won't speak.  The third says hello (and it took him two years to do that) and makes googly eyes at me.  I'd go out with any of them if they asked.  But unless they man up and do it, I couldn't care less. 

NOTE: When I feel so-so about a man and then he treats me well and does all of the above, my so-so turns into yes-yes.  Likewise, I could be really excited about a man until he fails to do the above, moving him down to so-so or no-no. These behaviors often determine whether you get a second date or not. They are that important.

Some readers might think this is so obvious they don't need to be said. But, you'd be wrong about that. I've had the dates to prove it.  Believe me, an awful lot of men out there never learned any of this, or they forgot it, or, they think they are god's gift to women and can act like jerks if they want to. Good luck with that.


The Rival

It makes me sad mostly.  Another single woman 30+ in my ward has tried to befriend me.  But.  I don't care for her friendship.  I tried.  I could tell she was lonely and  in need of companionship, I knew what that was like. So, I felt duty-bound to accept her overtures as a comrade in arms.  Some expensive debacles later, I realized that I couldn't afford her friendship.  We have since maintained a fake friendship at church which makes me somewhat ill, but it's not worth having a conflict over.  Now, however, she is treating me like her rival. 

Last summer I met a nice Mormon man online and I asked him out because he was attractive, employed and local.  He took me to a soccer game.  I knew by the end of the night that I did not want to go out with him again.  Meanwhile, I was still trying to be a real friend to the woman.  When she asked about my weekend, I told her about the date.  She nearly drooled at the mention of a man who took me to a soccer game.  She went on and on about how much she loved soccer, that she used to play in college, blah blah. 

The dude emailed me because he wanted to go out again.  I felt bad because he was sweet and good.  But, we had nothing in common except the church and I didn't find his company compelling.  I asked the woman if she was interested in meeting him.  She was very interested.  So I set it up. They both agreed as long as I was there too. *Groan.*  I organized the whole thing, considering it a duty of friendship. 

She wanted to go to the mall. *Double groan.*  She needed a ride, she always does.  Fine.  (I was also still wearing the splint having just had a metal plate surgically attached to my wrist and was still in pain but able to drive.)  I was in the middle of my summer financial fiasco and had just enough from unemployment to pay my rent.  My friend knew this, I had described my situation in detail so she'd know that I couldn't spend any money.

I had never been to this mall.  When we got there she told me to park at a large retailer across the street to avoid the parking fee.  She promised that everyone else who drove her to the mall ALWAYS parked there. It was perfectly safe.  I didn't see the very small signs warning mall patrons not to park there.  After the date, which seemed to go well enough, the gentleman walked us to the parking lot.  We couldn't find my car! At first I thought it was stolen.  I don't have comprehensive insurance so I started freaking out.

Then my friend said, "Maybe they towed your car?"  "WHAT???? Why would they tow my car?"  "Because the signs say you are not allowed to park here to go to the mall."  But. You told me to park here. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? I could not afford to get my car out of impound.  I couldn't even afford to get home on the bus.  We found the no parking signs and called the tow company. They confirmed they had my car.  I started to cry.

I asked the gentleman if he could drive me home.  He agreed, but then he asked me how much it cost.  $190.  He offered to take me to the lot and lend me the money to get my car. (!!!)  He was the absolute definition of a gentleman.  Sooo sweet.  I promised him that I would get the money from my parents and pay him back right away.  So we got my car.  The woman.  She said she was very sorry.  That was all.  She offered no help with the cost.  She never offered to pay for any of it at all.  Not one single red cent. I only parked there solely because of her.  Nada.  Nothing.  Not even an apology for not helping me to pay.  

Before we all parted, the two of them said they wanted to go out again, for thai food.  The three of us.  I said I couldn't afford it and they offered to pay for me.  Fine.  I didn't want to go but I owed the very, very nice man.  

The next week, we went out. I could barely stand the sight of the woman because I was so angry.  But I put on my best fakey-fake demeanor (which isn't very good.)  The two of them ordered appetizers and juice and desserts.  I thought they were paying, so I ordered along with them.  Then the check came, $60 after tax and tip.  I happened to have a $20 in my pocket because I was going to the ATM afterwards to deposit it because my account was $20 short of the rent.  If I didn't get it in there, the check could bounce.  

Everyone looked at the check uncomfortably and said nothing.  I couldn't stand it.  I wanted to go home already, I had some work on a research proposal that I needed done yesterday.  So I picked up the check and said, "Why don't we each pay 20?"  I expected them to protest and offer to pay my share.  They did not.  My rent check bounced.  For the second month in a row.  I could be evicted for that in Jersey.  They both wanted to do this again.  Not on a cold day in hell.  They never went out together.  I ignored her calls afterwards because I knew I couldn't be civil with her. 

We've been fake friends ever since.  A few weeks ago, we were sitting together in Sunday school when an attractive man in his 30s, very smartly dressed, approached us.  I had never seen him before. They knew each other and started chatting.  I waited for the woman to introduce me.  She did not.  I even tried inserting myself into the conversation but she shut me out.  Eventually, after five minutes or so, I walked away.  Later, I asked her who he was.  She said, "Oh! That's so and so. You don't know him? I thought you did.  He always introduces himself to new people.  If I had known I would have introduced you."  I asked if she was dating him.  She said, "No. But he's good looking, right?' "Right. You should go out with him." "Me? Oh, no, no, no. I couldn't." "Okay."  I took that as the all clear for me to date him should the opportunity arise.  

Since, I have seen the smart man looking at me, often.  So, a week or two after not meeting him, the woman and I were talking in the lobby.  He was leaving, saw us, turned around and came over to talk.  He asked her about something.  I waited to be introduced.  I was not.  The woman, not only did not introduce me, she turned her body so that her back was facing me and I was shut out of the conversation, again.  At one point, the man looked right at me and asked if I ever got migraines.  I said 'no' and he looked disappointed then turned back to the woman. Oh, those suave single mormon men!   I got bored and walked away.  This time, her omission was not accidental.  She knew I hadn't met him.  She, clearly, did not want me to meet him.  Whatever.  I went home.  

It's been a few months.  The man travels for business so he's not always there.  He looks but he has never approached.  I tried to smile at him last week but he wouldn't make eye contact.  I suspect my 'friend' told him I had a boyfriend.  Because she knew I had one once.   She asked me about him on the first day I didn't meet the smart man.   I told her that my boyfriend kept breaking up with me so I really didn't know what my situation was, other than I probably didn't have a boyfriend.  So, now, in addition to not liking her, I don't trust her.

If I cared, I would go introduce myself to the man.  But I don't.  I just can't believe the juvenile behavior of that woman.  It's pitiful and sad.